A long ball is played in to an onside attacker behind the defense about 40 yards from the goal. The nearest defender is in close pursuit and (unlikely to catch the attacker) and the GK is coming out to cut down the angle. On his next touch the attacker pushes the ball out just a little too far allowing the charging GK to get his foot on it. The GK strikes the ball into the defender and it bounces back behind the GK right to the attacker. The attacker had moved out of the path of the charging GK after the attacker has lost control of the ball. The referee whistled the attacker as offside stating the attacker had gained an advantage by being in an offside position. I was a spectator for this one but disagreed with the call because when the attacker received the ball from the deflection (GK to defender)it was not played to him by a teammate but rather the defense. It seemed to me, in order for the referee to be correct, the attacker satisfied the criteria for offsides all by himself and basically put himself offside. What is the correct ruling here?

USSF answer (April 22, 2010):
There is no offside violation possible here by the attacker because the attacker was never in an offside position at a time when the ball was last played by a teammate. The last time the ball was played by one of his teammates, the attacker was onside. Even though he was ahead of the ball and ahead of the second-last defender and the goalkeeper, that doesn’t matter, The attacking team player who last PLAYED the ball before it came back to our attacker from the defender was the attacker himself. In other words, he could not possibly be called offside.

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